• Distance:
  • 81.8km / 50.8 Mi
  • Duration:
  • 2:17:54

Nagano Prefecture is full of great motorcycle roads and ample hotsprings., This Suwa to Tateshina route takes you via Venus Line- which is known as the second best motorcycle road in Japan. Road signs are marked in Japanese characters so if you don't read Japanese, look for the numbers which are always marked clearly. In Japanese characters the start of the Venus Line looks like this: 県道460号線. The average rider will be able to do the journey in 54.8 mi (88.2 km) of twisty roads and hairpin turns in about 3 hours.

Photo credit: Motorcycle Paradise Blog - http://esr.cc/SNKJ3l

Suwa in Japanese looks like: 諏訪市pronounced Suwa-shi, is a small city of 51,000 people located in Nagano Prefecture. It's famous for its ryokans, which are traditional Japanese guesthouses at hot springs. You may have heard of the town of Suwa in Sayo Masuda's 'Autobiography of a Geisha'. Every six years, in the years of the Tiger and the Monkey, Suwa hosts a Shinto festival called Onbashira. As part of the event, very large trees in the hills are cut down and brought down into the valley, pulled with ropes and slid down hills. To demonstrate bravery, young men from the area ride on the logs as they slide down the slopes. The city has many sites to see including several Japanese Castles like the Tashima Castle (高島城); it was built in 1592. For more information on what to see, where to eat and sleep in Suwa see: http://esr.cc/OZ55V4

From Suwa you'll start the Venus Line at the intersection of Nakasendo Hwy Road 142 (国道142号線) . Go North on via Nakasendo Hwy for 11 mi (18 km) then turn onto the Venus Line for 13 mi (21 km).

The Venus Line runs on roads 460, 178 and 464 it's a twisty road with high elevations of 4,920 to 6,398 feet (1,500 to 1,950 metres) and is voted to be the 2nd best road in Japan amongst motorcycle riders.

Photo credit: Motorcycle Paradise Blog - http://esr.cc/SNKJ3l

From the end of the Venus Line you can optionally go North on Road 464 for 6 mi (10 km) for some more twisties that are worth riding. Or, take a U-turn on Venus Line Road 464 and head in the opposite direction down 460.

From Venus Line & Nakasendo Hwy turn left and continue riding your motorcycle Northeast on Nakasendo Hwy Road 142 for the final stretch of twisty road to Tateshina (立科町) pronounced Tateshina-machi in 12.5 mi (20 km).

Tateshina, is a small town of 8,500 people located in Kitasaku District of Nagano Prefecture. The town is famous for its many apple orchards.

Nagano Prefecture is full of great motorcycle roads and this route is chock full of twisties and hairpin turns the whole way from from Suwa to Tateshina. The Venus Line has great elevation changes and is voted the second best motorcycle road in all of Japan, behind the Bandai Azuma Skyline. You can complete the motorcycle journey in 54.8 mi (88.2 km) in 3 hours of beautiful Japanese scenery and culture. Enjoy the ride! EatSleepRIDE.

Another great Japanese road to check out is the Bandai Azuma Skyline:

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